update: check all the details and download the new Rekordbox 5.0 version here.

Pioneer DJ’s Rekordbox 5.0 Beta is out, and the first evident change is the new, flat cleaner design. It’s strikingly similar to Serato DJ, as shown in the comparison below, and that is really a good thing.

Rekordbox DJ Beta 5.0 and Serato DJ comparison
Rekordbox DJ Beta 5.0 and Serato DJ comparison

Gone are the 3D knobs of the old version that didn’t really work visually anyway. It’s a much cleaner look overall and it will certainly ease the decision for DJ’s that are considering the transition from Serato DJ.

Key additions to 5.0

  • Renewed GUI.
  • DJM-S9 support.
  • Added Key shift / Key sync.
  • 16 Hot Cues / Pad FXs support.
  • Keyboard mode (key-shifted hot cue play).
  • Beat loop mode.
  • Option to play Hot Cue before reaching the next beat.
  • Options to set quantize beat value for each function.

A lot of new stuff here… The new GUI is obvious as said. The support for the DJM-S9 is great and will certainly help convince the Serato DVS crew that Rekordbox DJ is becoming a serious alternative. Key shift and Key sync are long overdue additions allowing to instantly sync the key of two tracks.

The Keyboard modeĀ is very similar to the Pitch ‘n Play feature in Serato DJ, and while in Serato it requires the Pitch ‘n Play plugin which is sold separately, it’s just a standard feature in Rekordbox DJ.

Finally, it’s now possible to play in Rekordbox DJ mode straight from a Rekordbox USB stick. Seems like a detail, but it does open up a lot of possibilities. For example, you can get a laptop gig ready in minutes by installing Rekordbox & Rekordbox DJ, plugin in your Rekordbox USB storage with your music collection and play. In another scenario, a DJ can arrive at a club with its USB stick containing Rekordbox analyzed music, plug it into the Rekordbox 5.0 laptop and use whatever compatible controller/media player that is available to perform. This adds to the flexibility of the Rekordbox ecosystem in a very positive way.

Improvements

There is also a series of improvements in this Rekordbox 5.0 Beta:

  • A preference to display 16 slots / 8 slots of the sampler.
  • Ability to set beat grid even for short / no beat sampling sound.
  • Quantize hot cue to the closest beat while playing.
  • Displays remaining and elapsed time at the same time.
  • Ability to sync with a track whose BPM is double or half of a master deck.
  • More choices for font size and line space.
  • Displays original BPM on decks.

Conclusion

I liked Rekordbox DJ from the beginning, but have always placed it below Serato DJ because of its stability and interface design. The interface design has been clearly addressed in this version, and to me, it really elevates Rekordbox DJ.

The stability question then. The beta feels snappy and stable on the machine I tested it on, but I haven’t yet done a long set using a lot of the features simultaneously. So I guess that time will tell if Pioneer DJ managed to bring Rekordbox DJ to the next level with this update. In any case, Serato should start getting concerned, because Pioneer DJ is clearly going for total world domination with this one.

If you want to try Rekordbox 5.0 Beta for yourself, download it here.

Be aware though, that using Beta DJ software for a live gig is NOT a good idea and the equivalent of jumping off a plane with an unverified shute.

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